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Scholars urge the need for a deeper reflection and understanding of Philippine history based on Filipino narratives.

Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno and Prof. Randy David, both Professor Emeritus from the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman, discussed their perspectives of the country’s historical narrative during the National Research Council of the Philippines’ (NRCP) inaugural Quincentennial Public Lecture on June 14, 2021.

The said event is the first of a series of monthly lectures that will conclude on November 17, 2021. With the theme, “Breakthroughs for Solidarity,” the lecture series is geared towards deepening the Filipinos’ awareness and appreciation of the country’s rich history and pre-colonial cultural heritage. It features various topics to be discussed by recognized NRCP members from various fields, i.e., in history, anthropology, and other social sciences.  anthropologists.

More than 460 representatives from local government units, national government agencies, the academe, and civil organizations participated in the said first Public Lecture. Most of them viewed the event via various social media platforms such as Research Pod, NRCP’s Facebook Page.

On “Historicizing the Present”

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Dr. Diokno presents her talk titled, “Historicizing the Present.”

 

Diokno, on “Historicizing the Present,” presented her perspective on the NHC’s commemorative events and how the past events have shaped the present historical narrative.

“So, commemorations historicize the present. Their utilitarian nature is both a source of strength and weakness; strength because activities of remembrance empower communities to engage in history-making; and weakness, because commemorations can fall prey to all sorts of interests, some of them shamelessly serving,” shared Diokno.

She stressed that commemorations demand a developed sense of self-awareness.

“We look upon (quincentennial commemoration) as an opportunity to investigate the more than three centuries of change ushered in by the years 1519-22. Its significance stems not only from the event itself but what it came to represent: disruptions and continuities in the lives of indigenous societies, the imposition of alien rule, and the eventual emergence of a Filipino nation,” added Diokno.

On “The Search for National Meaning”

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Prof. David sharing his historical perspectives with his talk titled, “The Search for National Meaning.”

 

With his talk titled, “A Search for National Meaning,” Prof. David shared his insights regarding the quincentennial commemoration.

“When they are not merely celebratory, they usually seek confirmation in the past for certain projects that lie in the present.  Such projects may be explicit or implicit, but always they highlight the affirmation of identities that are deemed relevant to contemporary issues,” said David.

David likewise stressed that understanding the past is a gargantuan responsibility and it is the historian’s role to bring out this complexity in pursuit of historical truths. In relation, he raised that most school history textbooks don’t mention local narratives.

“I have also tried to illustrate, drawing from my own personal experience, how the statist bias of most school history textbooks tends to submerge local histories and marginalize cultures that ground the self-worth and self-consciousness of small communities,” quipped David. 

Forthcoming NRCP Quincentennial Commemoration (NQC) lectures will be on archaeology, culture, peopling of the country, and development. These will be featured by NRCP members in the next five months.

For updates and links regarding the said lectures, interested individuals or institutions may check the following dedicated website: https://nqc.nrcpvirtual.com/